Konstantin Malofeyev told the Financial Times that Moscow's influence on the continent won?t diminish after Yevgeny Prigozhin's death
Russia enjoys the trust of most African nations in stark contrast to their former Western colonial masters, Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev has claimed, speaking to the Financial Times. He also predicted that the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner PMC is active in several countries on the continent, will not erode Russia's standing in Africa.
In an article published on Friday, the FT quoted Malofeyev as saying that "anyone representing Russia would enjoy an unchanged situation and the full trust of African leaders." He attributed this to widespread anti-Western sentiment on the continent.
"The main thing is for them to be Russian, because Russia is trusted infinitely more than the Western colonizers," Malofeyev insisted.
Having made his fortune as an investment banker in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Malofeyev later turned to conservative and monarchist politics. He is the founder and chair of the media outlet Tsargrad TV. The Ukrainian authorities have accused him of financing the Donbass secessionist movement starting in 2014.
Fidele Gouandjika, a senior adviser to Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who has actively been using the services of PMC Wagner, concurred with Malofeyev, saying that Prigozhin's death "changes absolutely nothing." The official added that his country will "continue to have Wagners on the ground thanks to our agreement with the Kremlin," as quoted by the FT.
An anonymous UN official from the peacekeeping force in Mali, too, predicted that Wagner's operations would continue largely unchanged.
Speaking to the newspaper, another expert suggested that the Russian Defense Ministry could eventually take over Wagner's operations in Africa.
In an interview with International Affairs magazine earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued that the Russia-Africa summit held in St. Petersburg in July demonstrated African nations' willingness to deepen ties with Moscow.
According to the diplomat, Russia is perceived on the continent as a reliable partner that can contribute to maintaining stability and also assist in the fight against terrorism. He added that Moscow is ready to share its experience in these fields.
"Russia remains a conscientious supplier of energy resources, food, fertilizers, and medicines to Africa," Lavrov concluded, adding that Moscow's "independent foreign policy" strikes a sympathetic chord with developing nations.